Families across the Hawaiian islands are making the choice to transform some of their back gardens into tiny new homes for rent or family use. If you’ve been thinking about building your own ADU, there are a large number of things to consider before you even start making plans to pour the foundation.
Even choosing the site for your ADU can be more complicated than you might first assume. While land disturbance and utility connections are important considerations, when you get started, some of the first decisions you will need to make are how to be a good neighbor. The right choices here can affect the success and happiness of you, your ADU residents, and your current neighbors for years in the future.
It’s true that any new construction requires some consideration for your neighbors but you’re not just renovating a kitchen. Building an ADU is choosing a permanent place for new neighbors who will become a part of the community.
Where you build your ADU and how you choose to build it can influence not only your relationship with your neighbors but also how welcome your future ADU residents will be in the neighborhood when they move in. Let’s take a look at the five top good neighbor considerations every ADU builder should think about before finalizing their plans.
1) Privacy and View
The first thing to consider is how private the ADU you’re building will be, both for the residents and the neighbors. Because ADUs are relatively new, most of your neighbors have likely not built their yards to guard against line-of-sight from a home or second story in your backyard. Likewise, you will want your new residents to have a certain amount of privacy in their home from people in neighboring yards.
There are a few ways to achieve view privacy and best practices to do it right. First, try to place your ADU at a respectful distance from other homes and consider facing its front away from any back windows. If it seems necessary, you may also want to plant or make use of existing sight-blocking vegetation or build a small privacy fence around your ADU.
2) Solar Shading
Next is the sunshine issue. While few consider this consequence when planning a new construction, it is entirely possible that your ADU could shadow a neighbor’s yard or even their home in an undesirable way. Think about where your ADU will cast a shadow and choose a courteous location so as not to block the light from your neighbor’s gardens, windows, or solar panels.
3) Parking Location
Your ADU resident needs at least one convenient and accessible parking space on your property and you cannot ask them to park on the curb. If you have an unusually large driveway, you can dedicate one spot to your ADU resident provided that it is always available.
Otherwise, you will need to build an additional little driveway or driveway extension for their parking spot. Consider your neighbors when choosing the parking location to minimize noise and light disturbance and don’t set your ADU resident’s parking spot right up against the border of your land.
4) Landscaping Changes
Changing your landscaping doesn’t just change the way your garden looks, it can also cause significant differences in the gardens of your neighbors as well. The slope of your land effects rain run-off which means it is absolutely possible to accidentally flood or even dry out your neighbor’s gardens with the wrong landscaping choice.
If you are planting new trees or building things like carports, covered porches, or gazebos, don’t forget to consider the solar shading issue here as well.
5) Construction and Noise
Finally, be considerate about both the noise your construction makes and the noise that will be produced by your future residents. Your residents should be able to watch television, play music, and have gatherings at a reasonable volume without echoing through the neighborhood.
To this end, you may want to think about acoustic blocking techniques like fences, walls, and vegetation as well as considerate construction hours while the ADU is still going up.
If you’d like more tips and guidance on building your ADU in a way that will please everyone involved, contact us today!